Email Groups To Minimise Isolation
Email groups can provide an excellent forum for people isolated through disability to make friends, interact, research and hone skills. Email groups are excellent places to start if you haven't done much emailing as most groups have a clear set of guidelines and a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions sheet) which is posted out to all new members. In an email group, all members can read all postings.
There are email groups for almost every interest and topic imaginable. For example, if your interest is Writing, there are a range of excellent writing workshops which provide a supportive environment in which you can submit your work for feedback and learn technical skills by commenting on other writers' work. These groups require a minimum level of participation, often 1 submission of your own work and 3 or 4 critiques of other people's work each month.
If you have internet access, have a look at:
http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/ for a writing workshop,
or for listings of other groups check out that which was Onelist & Egroups:
If you do not have internet access and you are a CCS client send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know what sort of groups you're interested in and I'll send you back a list. Please mention that you are a CCS member and which branch you belong to.
Many organisations allow you to set up your own group, at no charge. The cost of running the lists is recouped by the sale of advertising space, so each message sent to the group has a small advertisement of 1 or 2 lines automatically tacked onto the bottom by the host organisation. You then moderate your own group, organise and approve your own membership and submission guidelines. You can also use an email group to distribute newsletters, jokes or commercial information to a closed mailing list.
NB. You do not have to have internet access to participate in email groups. A number of New Zealand internet providers offer 'email only' for around NZ$60.00 a year, plus there are a number of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offering free internet and email access. For further information on Free Internet Access see the June 2000 column.